Sheriff, supervisors revisit reimbursement dilemma
Subway sandwiches and Gatorade consumed the attention of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors during its Aug. 12 meeting.
Sheriff Greg Hagwood presented receipts for the food and beverages purchased for deputies during a marijuana garden investigation and eradication.
Auditor Roberta Allen said she couldn’t reimburse the expenditures without the supervisors’ authorization.
“We still don’t have a mechanism to address the expenditures,” Hagwood told the board, and added that he has appeared before the supervisors every time a similar operation is held.
“Is there anything we can do?” asked supervisor Lori Simpson.
Auditor Allen said that county policy would have to be changed, but worried about potential abuses by departments.
“I completely understand the need for checks and balances,” Hagwood said, but added that after more than four years, he and his department have a “pretty strong track record.”
The board voted to develop a policy specific to the sheriff that would give him the authority to spend up to a certain dollar amount each year for this type of expenditure without needing the supervisors’ approval.
At Sheriff Greg Hagwood’s request, the supervisors approved a $500 fee to be paid to the sheriff’s department when property annexations result in a change of fire protection jurisdiction.
“There is measurable expense attached to making the changes,” Hagwood said, of what’s required to update the 911 system. “These costs have to be incorporated as part of the annexation process.”
While the supervisors understood the request, they worried that it might dissuade some from seeking annexation.
“We would like to see consolidations,” Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said. “If we start piling on more and more fees, it could put a real damper on consolidations, so I have mixed emotions.”
“There needs to be something in place that’s equitable,” Hagwood said. “Ultimately, it puts community members and visitors at risk.”
If the information isn’t updated, then 911 calls can’t be dispatched properly.
“Most of this stems from my area,” said Supervisor Terry Swofford, who represents Portola and the Sierra Valley. “This is a good way of addressing it.”
His fellow supervisors agreed and voted unanimously to approve the new fee — the first block of 25 addresses would cost $500, with $248 for each additional block of 25 addresses.
New road department tool
Thanks to a grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the county’s public works department has a new tool in its arsenal — a Polaris Ranger utility terrain vehicle.
Public Works Director Bob Perreault told the board that the vehicle, with a purchase price of $24,298, would be purchased locally at DuPont Power Tools.
Perreault explained that the vehicle can travel on snow or revert to tires for summertime use. The road department will use it to assess the viability of roadways, but will also make it available to the sheriff in event of an emergency or to perform search and rescue operations.
In-home care providers will now be earning $9.50 per hour. The supervisors approved the 50-cent-per-hour increase, which will go into effect Oct. 1.
Following Sierra’s lead
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors is asking the 22 counties that encompass the Sierra Nevada to adopt local states of emergency because of the condition of the forest, which is choked with biomass, and the threat of severe fires.
Sierra County provided a draft resolution, which local officials will review and tailor to fit Plumas County before the supervisors consider it for adoption.
A 9.6-mile stretch of roadway from north of Beckwourth to an intersection in Clover Valley will soon be under construction.
The Federal Highway Administration, the Forest Service, Caltrans and Plumas County are coordinating the project, which will restore the roadway that serves as an access route from Beckwourth to Genesee or to Susanville.
Construction costs are estimated at $21 million, with the county’s match being the $206,000 it is paying for right-of-way acquisition.